Discovering it A.L.L.!

By Riva Preil

The New York Times reported recently that Belgian scientists discovered the existence of a new ligament in the knee, the anterolateral ligament (A.L.L.) which stabilizes the knee joint by connecting the femur to the tibia.  The information was initially greeted with excitement by the medical community, however shortly thereafter, skepticism and doubt crept into the reaction of some.  How is it possible that medical practitioners have MISSED this for so long?  Could this simply be a conspiracy devised by doctors eager to perform ADDITIONAL surgeries and generate more profit?

ABSOLUTELY NOT- this ligament is the real deal, folks.  A careful dissection analyses in 41 cadavers confirmed that this tiny ligament, which measures approximately 1.5 inches length, is in the same location and has the same origin and insertion in all the studied knees.  The human body is sometimes expected to be a nicer and neater package than it actually is.  To quote The New York Times author, Bill Hayes, “The body is murky.  Muscles don’t neatly separate for you in order to display their various parts.  What lies beneath the chiseled beauty that is a six-pack, to cite one example, is wet and messy” (“The Secrets Inside Us,” December 3, 2013).  The natural variation amongst individuals, along with the internal changes that occur with the aging process, disease, and injury, make it easy to understand how such a small ligament could go undetected for so many years.

If this concept holds true regarding the knee, try to imagine how much moreso it translates to pelvic floor anatomy!  The pelvic floor, a region of the body which often gets considerable less attention during anatomy lab dissections, is a big question mark to many. Fortunately, we live in a day and age when technology affords us the opportunity to learn, discover, and analyze the many structures that are hidden within the private recesses of our bodies. The pelvic region, an inner sanctuary housed deep within our bodies, is actually a highly congested area filled with muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, arteries, veins, and connective tissue.  It is truly a miracle when everything works well and our bodies function smoothly.  However, when that is NOT the case, it can manifest as pain, bladder and /or bowel dysfunction, or sexual dysfunction.  Fortunately, treatment is available, and pelvic floor physical therapy can help address the musculoskeletal and neurologic components of this region. If you or someone you know has questions regarding whether or not this type of intervention is appropriate for you, please contact us at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy- we are happy to help!

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